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   One of the distinguishing features of small Southern towns is that everybody in town knows everyone else. This is especially true with the older generations who were not as mobile as their younger counterparts. In the courtroom of one of those small Southern towns, the prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand. She was an elderly, but spry woman, sharp as a tack and very vocal.

   The prosecuting attorney approached her and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?” She responded, “Why, yes, I know you, Billy Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy, and frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a big shot driving your big fancy car and wearing your fancy clothes when you haven’t the brains to realize that everybody in town knows that you’re a fake and you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you, Billy Williams.”

   The prosecutor was stunned! Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room at the defense attorney and asked, “Well, Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?” She again replied, “Why, yes, I know Johnny. I’ve known Johnny Bradley since he was a youngster. He’s lazy, he’s bigoted, he’s boisterous and he has a drinking problem. He can’t build a normal relationship with anyone because he’s too arrogant. His law practice is one of the worst in the entire state, not to mention he cheated to pass the board. And speaking of cheating, he’s cheated on his wife with three different women, and one of them was your wife. Yes, I know Johnny Bradley all too well.”

   The defense attorney stood helpless. The prosecuting attorney was in shock. The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said, “If either one of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I’ll send you both to the electric chair.”

Kjeragbolten is a 5 m³ boulder wedged into a crevasse
at the top of Lysfjorden, Norway


 
   What you see is Kjeragbolten, a boulder wedged between two rock faces that tower about 6 ½ feet apart, 1,000 meters above Lysfjorden, Norway. The name means the Kjerag Bolt. Speculation is, that the rock got wedge in there sometime during the last ice age. Today, the boulder is a very popular place to get your picture taken.

   Even though the boulder hangs more than a half-mile above the water below, and there’s no hand rail or safety net, brave visitors can walk on to the bolt (or in some cases, crawl) out onto the bolt for a photographic opportunity of a lifetime. The rock’s top surface is flat enough that walking out onto it is relatively easy – if you’re not afraid of heights – and it is said to bring good luck. This award-winning image was captured as a young adventurer jumped up and down the boulder in the rain as if he was on solid ground.

   Despite the fact that there have been 20 fatalities in the 14 years between 1994 and 2008, the Bolt is still a popular place for photography and base jumping
 
 
 
 
 

Brave or Stupid?


   Perhaps there is nothing in social relations that produces more terror than The Annual Office Christmas Party. There is reportedly no worse source of nightmares. yet every year, we dutifully shuffle off to endure this one night of expected torture.

   1. It’s a party and it’s supposed to be fun — yet it is precisely not fun. Indeed, anyone seeking fun would most probably and more likely find it almost anywhere else. But we are governed by items two and three:

   2: Everyone there appears as though they are there to see and socialize with other co-workers, when really they are there only to protect their precarious economic position. After all, if two co-workers really wanted to see each other, then why do they communicate by email when they sit in adjacent cubicles?

   3: In its apparently voluntary nature, it appears to make people welcome and to feel like they belong to the corporate whole, yet the discerning observer will notice exactly the opposite. Namely, the fellowship degrades into intimate gatherings of gossipy individuals who previously alienated themselves from the corporate whole.

The only thing I can think of that’s worse than having to attend the Annual Office Christmas Party, is having to host the annual office Christmas party.

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DATE: December 1

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
SUBJECT: Office Christmas Party on December 23d

   I’m happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23, starting at noon in the banquet room at Luigi’s Italian Bistro. This gathering is only for employees! There will be a pay-as-you-go bar, but plenty of free eggnog! We’ll have a small band playing traditional Christmas carols… so feel free to sing along. And don’t be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus! The Christmas tree will be lit at 1:00 p.m. and we will exchange gifts among employees. However, no gift should be over $10.00 to make the gift-giving easy on everyone’s pocketbook. A special announcement will be made by our CEO at the end of the evening!

Merry Christmas to you and your families,

Patty

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DATE: December 2

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
SUBJECT: Office Holiday Party

   In no way was yesterday’s memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. Christmas is an important holiday which often coincides with Hanukkah, though unfortunately not this year. The CEO has asked me to remind you that the company does not discriminate against any employees based on religious beliefs. However, to prevent this misconception, from now on we’re calling it our “Office Holiday Party.” This same policy applies for employees who will be celebrating “Kwanzaa” at this time. Also, there will be a “Holiday” tree present, and we will not be singing “Christmas” carols. However, we will have other types of music playing for your enjoyment.

Happy Holidays to you and your families,

Patty

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DATE: December 5

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
SUBJECT: Office Holiday Party

   Regarding the note I received from a recovering member of Alcoholics Anonymous who was requesting a special “non-drinking table”… You didn’t sign your name. I’m happy to accommodate your request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, “Alcoholics Anonymous Table” you won’t be anonymous anymore.

Patty

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DATE: December 6

FROM: Patty Lewis
TO: All Employees
SUBJECT: Office Holiday Party

   Forget about the gift exchange at the office holiday party. We will have no gift exchange since the Worker’s Union contacted me with a grievance that they are being forced to give gifts to management. Instead, the executive board has voted to add a $10.00 bonus to each employee’s paycheck. Again, NO GIFT EXCHANGES WILL BE ALLOWED. Remember, our own “little Santa in a red suit” will be making an important announcement at the end of the evening.

Patty

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DATE: December 7

FROM: Patty Lewis
TO: All Employees
SUBJECT: Office Holiday Party

   What a diverse group we are! I had no idea that December 20 begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon at this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees’ beliefs. Luigi’s has agreed to hold off on serving the meals until the end of the party — after the planned events — or else they can package everything for take-home. Will that work?

   Meanwhile, I’ve arranged for members of Over-eaters Anonymous to sit the farthest from the dessert buffet and the two pregnant women will get a table closest to the restrooms. Gay male employees do not have to sit at the ‘Singles’ table, they will be allowed to sit with each other as a couple, and the lesbians do not have to sit at the table with the single gay men, unless they want to. Yes, there will be a take-home flower centerpiece on the ‘Single Gay Men’s’ table.

   To the person who asked if they can cross-dress, no cross-dressing is allowed. This is a Holiday party, not a costume party. Also, we will have three booster seats on hand for our ‘little’ people. Low-fat food will be available for those on a diet and a cheese-and-bean dish will be substituted for the meat entrée for the vegetarians. We cannot control the amount of salt used in the food, so we suggest for those people with high blood pressure to taste their food first before loading up a plate. the restaurant does not serve “sugar-free” desserts, but there will be a limited quantity of fresh fruits for the Diabetics. Sorry!

Did I miss anything?
Patty

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DATE: December 8

FROM: Patty
TO: All Employees
SUBJECT: Office Holiday Party

   I have just been informed that December 22 marks the Winter Solstice. However, fire regulations at Luigi’s prohibit the open burning of sage by our “Earth-Goddess-worshiping” employees, but we’ll try to accommodate your shamanic drumming circle during the band’s breaks. Okay???… I don’t know what else you can expect me to do, maybe tap-dance naked on the tables?

P

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DATE: December 11

FROM: Patty
TO: All Employees
SUBJECT: Office Holiday Party

   People, people! I was joking about the naked tap-dancing . I realize NOBODY wants to see that!.

   Also, there was nothing sinister intended by my referral of the CEO as “our own little Santa in a red suit,” even though some employees pointed out the anagram of “Santa” happens to be “Satan” and Satan wears red. And there is no evil connotation to my earlier remark, “that he’ll be making a special announcement.” No one is losing their jobs! It’s a flippin’ tradition, folks! Like sugar shock at Halloween or family feuds over the Thanksgiving turkey, or broken hearts on Valentine’s Day. Get over it! Could we all just lighten up? Please?????????
Regardless, the company has changed their mind about making the special announcement at the gathering. You will instead get a notification in the mail sent to your home.

P

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DATE: December 12

FROM: Patty
TO: All you #%&$**@ Employees
SUBJECT:The %#*&^%@*% Office Holiday Party

   I have NO FREAKIN’ idea what the G*&#&p;8^ announcement is all about. What the %#&^??? I DO NOT KNOW if it is about a “Christmas-” or “Holiday-” or “Kwanzaa-” or “Ramadan-” or “Earth-goddess-worshiper” bonus! I DO NOT KNOW how or if the $10 bonus gift will affect your end-of-year paycheck! I work in HUMAN resources — NOT FINANCIAL Resources. As such, I do not control your stinking financial situation!!!! I KNOW WHAT I AM GOING TO GET and that’s all I need to know!!!!!!!!!!!!

   And about the address changes for the ‘special announcement’: I have been asking FOR MONTHS for everyone to update their mailing address. If ONE MORE IDIOT comes to me now to update their Fr#*#*$ address, they’re going to take one in the gut! You come to my office and try to change your address now, and you are dead!!!!!!!!!!!! NO MORE CHANGE OF ADDRESSES!!!!!! Any one who tries… I will have you hung from the ceiling in the warehouse!!!!!!!!!!!

I MEAN IT!!!

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DATE: December 13

FROM: Patty
TO: All YOU A$$H*Le5
SUBJECT:The F******* Office Holiday Party

    BIO-SUSTAINABLE ORGANIC-VEGANS!?!?!? I’ve had it with you people!!! We’re going to keep this party at Luigi’s Italian Restaurant whether you like it or not. If you don’t like it, you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the “grill of death,” as you so quaintly put it, and you’ll eat from the #$%^&*! salad bar, including hydroponic tomatoes. — But you know, tomatoes have feelings, too. Tomatoes SCREAM when you slice them! I’ve heard them scream! I’m hearing them scream right now! HOW MANY INNOCENT TOMATOES HAVE

    YOU

TORTURED AND KILLED? >>>>>>> HA, HA, HA !
I hope you ALL have a rotten, lousy, stinking, depressing, joyless holiday! Drive drunk and DIE!!!!! You HEAR ME????????

The B—- from HELL!!!!!!!!

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DATE: December 13

FROM: Terri Bishop, Executive Director and Acting Human Resources Director
RE: Patty Lewis and the Holiday Party

   I’m sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery from her stress-related illness and hospitalization and I’ll continue to forward your get-well cards to her at Covenant Mental Health. In the meantime, company management has decided to cancel our annual Holiday Party to give everyone paid time off the afternoon of December the 23rd to spend time with their family and loved ones.

Happy Holidays! and enjoy your family time,

Terri